Lifestyle Habits and your Menopausal Transition.

lifestyle May 11, 2022

 

Your daily routines have the power to build you up or to contribute to your demise.

There are so many different powerful habits you can build into your routine but doing them once won’t make a difference you need to be committed to change to see a real difference.

 

The best place to start is with exercise. You need to move every day but you don’t need to work out every day. Ideally, it should be something you enjoy. It may be a walk in the park, it could be dancing or a team sport. The first step is to start something and make it a part of your routine. Step two is to fill in the gaps, ideally, your weekly exercise routine will include some kind of cardio, weights, and stretching.

There are so many health benefits linked with regular exercise. Such as reduced stress levels, happier moods, better-balanced blood sugar levels, stronger muscles and bones, improved cognition, better heart health, more energy, and improved sleep. Some studies even link exercise with a reduced frequency and intensity of hot flushes. 

 

My next tip involves your breath. Do you habitually breathe out of your mouth or nose? 

We were designed to be nasal breathers, to take in air via the nostril to warm and filter the air before it reaches our lungs. You may not be aware of the power of your breath or the links to bad health if you get it wrong. I’m not talking about the occasional mouth breathing due to nasal congestion as being able to breathe via our mouth can be lifesaving but the habitual constant mouth breathing is linked with many issues including hot flushes and night sweats! Yeap I went there, there is a link between mouth breathing and experiencing hot flushes and night sweats.

Patrick McKeown in his fantastic book “The breathing cure” even has an entire chapter on Female hormones and the breath, with quite a bit of information specifically on menopause. I bet that’s a connection you hadn’t made before. Other symptoms that may be linked to mouth breathing include high blood pressure, headaches, disturbed sleep, fatigue, poor moods, and reduced cognition.

This leads me to tell you about my Menopause Makeover program. The first module is dedicated to lifestyle factors and there is a section all about breath, actually, this part of the program is most women's favourite part of the program and it includes a live group breathwork session. The second module is all about nutrition. Click here to learn more about the program. Menopause Makeover

Another issue with mouth breathing is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the walls of the throat come together during sleep and block off the upper airways. This leads to a halt in breathing until the brain recognises its lacking oxygen and signals you to wake up. Many women who live with this condition have no idea they have it. If you mouth breath, snore, wake during the night, experience night sweats, wake with a dry mouth, a morning headache, and feel unrefreshed by sleep, it’s worth investigating.  

While we are on the topic, there is another respiratory-based lifestyle factor that hugely impacts the menopausal transition and this is smoking. Smokers have an earlier menopause and can have a longer and more intense peri-menopausal experience. Every cigarette you smoke is harming you, best case scenario is quitting and the sooner you quit the better but even reducing is better than nothing. 

 

Let’s end on a high note. A fun and joyful way to improve not only your menopausal transition but your life, in general, is with music. I have previously discussed the research "The effect of music therapy on menopausal symptoms and depression." If you want to read the nitty-gritty details of the study click here but to quickly summarise here, the research found listening to an enjoyable piece of music for 15 minutes a day produced an array of improvements. Participants experienced improvements across the board from a reduction in hot flushes, improved sleep, better moods, and even improved sex lives. 

 

So maybe the answer is to dance to music while nasal breathing?? Well, actually you don’t need to do it all. Start with 1 new idea and incorporate it into your life, make it a normal part of your routine and see what differences you notice then add another new habit and do the same. You can try many things at once but my concern is if you do too many new things at once it will get harder to keep it all going over the long term and it's the habits that stick, that create your destiny.

What will you choose?

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